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Iowa History Daily: February 25 - Arthur Collins & Radio

On February 25, 1987, innovative Iowan Arthur Collins passed away. Founder of Collins Radio Company, the fore-runner to Rockwell-Collins, Arthur Collins stands as a pioneering radio engineer and entrepreneur.

Born in Oklahoma, Arthur A. Collins moved to Cedar Rapids at seven years old. His father founded the Collins Farm Company in 1925, an enterprise to combine small farms into a larger cooperative enterprise. Even as a child, Arthur showed an incredible interest in radio. At age 14, he got his first amateur radio license, designed his own radio, and built it. 

In 1933, Collins started a radio company to design and produce shortwave radio and AM broadcasting equipment. Quickly gaining customers in the scientific community, including the far-famed arctic explorer Commander Byrd, the products coming out of the Collins shop helped to amplify communications across the world.

During World War II, Collins won the contract to serve as the principal supplier of radio and navigation equipment used by the United States military. Building on the success of the war years, Collins continued to win government contracts as the Space Race defined the Cold War. The primary supplier for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space missions, Collins helped link astronauts to earth. 

In 1973, Rockwell International bought the Collins Radio Company to form Rockwell Collins, Inc. a company specifically dedicated to serve as the avionics division of Rockwell International. Acquired in 2018 by United Technologies Corporation, the company now operates as Collins Aerospace. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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